13 Jan The beginning of a new chapter
Upon my arrival to Shanghai, I felt uncomfortable; this is due to the cold winter, the massive amount of crowds, and the customer service in their stores. However, I slowly got to understand their rich history, the reason people act in those ways, and I also eventually accustomed myself to the climate in the next couple of days. The best thing that I like most about Shanghai was their efficient Subway system. Without this Subway and other public transports, I think that Shanghai would absolutely come to a halt and perhaps burst (ignore my expression), with this amount of population they have here (I would never enjoy squeezing on the Subway with the massive amount of strangers, so staying long term in Shanghai will never be an option for me). The Absolute Internship staff were really helpful in my transition to this new environment. Besides, I was really pleased with the clean and comfortable accommodation as well as the group activities provided. From my previous post, I have mentioned that I have visited the “must see” places such as “the Bund” and “Tian Zi Fang”, and have learnt how to use the Subway. Besides, I have also made some wonderful friends, mainly those who were from Australia. I am so glad that Mandarin is my first language, as I had no problem navigating and speaking to the locals. It saved me a lot of trouble, as compared to my Australian peers.
Another highlight for my first week was that, it was my second time celebrating New Years in a foreign country (My first was given to India). It was an unforgettable experience. I remembered I was together with 4 new friends, searching for a place to settle in, to enjoy our New Years Eve dinner. It was pretty late, around 7:30pm, as we were working in the day – I will talk about my internship in the next paragraph if you are wondering why I have not mentioned anything about work yet. Well, anyway, back to the search for dinner. It wasn’t the easiest task we experienced. All of the places were crowded with people, and the bigger restaurants that we went into, were filled with smokers. We never imagined that we would have Pizza Hut for our dinner – it was quite unexpected, but at least we had a quieter place to seat and eat together. Our next plan was to head to the Park Hyatt Hotel in Pudong to enjoy a scenic view of fireworks. It was my first time being in such a tall building – the place was on the 87th floor! However, it was packed with people too! Finally, we decided to switch spots to look at the fireworks. Sandra (the other engineering intern) and I, briskly walked to the bank of the Huang Pu River, and managed to squish and squash with the overwhelming amount of people gathered at the spot for the best view of fireworks. It was a really uncomfortable feeling, being pushed around by many people who were taller than me, but I thought that the fireworks were quite a sight, and I thought it was a really worthwhile experience. We ended up reaching our hotel about 4am in the morning, as there was a really bad jam from Pudong to Puxi (our area), and taxi drivers were reluctant to fetch us back. Well what an experience!
So, regarding my internship; I was allocated to an international marketing firm, along with 3 other interns whom I eventually got to know better, and thought were really easy going people – Min, Ryan and Tina. I think it’s worth mentioning that we are actually working in one of Shanghai’s tourist destinations – Shanghai IFC! It is a prestigious mall/office place, with Ritz Carlton Hotel beside it. I thought that I had entered a “rich man’s” world, being surrounded by branded retail stores like Gucci, Prada, and Versace; and smart and groomed white collared workers and shoppers. The view from my office on the 20th floor is pretty amazing, glancing down from our meeting area; I was able to have a clear sight of the Shanghai Oriental Pearl right opposite where I stand, as well as other tall buildings that surround me! I am really pleased with the location of the office I am interning at. I will talk more about the daily tasks I am assigned to, in my next blog post.